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The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  9 February 1953 (Brazil)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 9,187 users  
Reviews: 94 user | 60 critic

An unscrupulous movie producer uses an actress, a director and a writer to achieve success.



(screenplay), (story)
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Won 5 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Vanessa Brown ...
Sammy White ...
Ivan Triesault ...


Told in flashback form, the film traces the rise and fall of a tough, ambitious Hollywood producer Jonathan Shields, as seen through the eyes of various acquaintances, including a writer James Lee Bartlow, a star Georgia Lorrison and a director Fred Amiel. He is a hard-driving, ambitious man who ruthlessly uses everyone - including the writer, star and director - on the way to becoming one of Hollywood's top movie makers. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


I took you out of the gutter . . . I can fling you back! See more »


Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 February 1953 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Memorial to a Bad Man  »

Box Office


$1,558,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Realizing the film's shooting title, Tribute to a Bad Man, could lead audiences to expect a Western, John Houseman put out a call for new title suggestions. MGM Vice President in Charge of Publicity Howard Deitz quickly sent back The Bad and the Beautiful, an acknowledged bow to F. Scott Fitzgerald's story "The Beautiful and the Damned." Houseman and Schnee did not like that title which sounded like a cheap paperback novel, but MGM production head Dore Schary overruled them. See more »


In the studio, when Rosemary talks to Jonathan about her home in Hollywood, he has his right arm folded, holding the cigarette. In the following shot, just before they leave, he has his right arm by his side. See more »


Jonathan Shields: When an audience pays to see a picture like this, what are they paying for?
Fred: To get the pants scared off of 'em.
Jonathan Shields: And what scares the human race more than any other single thing?
[crosses to wall switch and turns out the light]
Fred: The dark!
Jonathan Shields: Of course. And why? Because the dark has a life of its own. In the dark, all sorts of things come alive.
Fred: Suppose... suppose we never do show the cat men. Is that what you're thinking.
Jonathan Shields: Exactly.
Fred: No cat men!
See more »


Featured in Biography: Kirk Douglas: A Lust for Life (1997) See more »


Don't Blame Me
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Performed by Peggy King
See more »

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User Reviews

2 Out Of 3 Ain't Bad
9 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A bit of a soap opera, this film was divided into three segments as people recalled their experiences with "Jonathan Shields," played well by Kirk Douglas.

"Shields" was a guy interested in making movies and he used people to get to the top. Three of these people tell of their dealings with him, and none of them have too many good things to say.

I liked the first and third segments but didn't care for the middle one with Lana Turner simply because Turner became so melodramatic, too hysterical for me. Barry Sullivan was excellent in the first part and helped get me into the story. He was the director who got "screwed" by Douglas.

Turner was the unknown actress whom Douglas turned into a star while the last part dealt with the key screenwriter for Douglas, played by Dick Powell. I thought Powell was the best of the four main characters of the film but his segment was the shortest, unfortunately. As good as he was, his wife was equally as annoying. She was played by the normally entertaining and alluring Gloria Grahame, who was anything but that in this role. She sounded ludicrous with her fake southern accent. How she won an Academy Award for this role is mind- boggling.

Some classify this movie as film noir, but I dispute that. It's simply a straight drama with soapish overtones. It's well-written, however, and keeps one's interest all the way, so I am not knocking this movie. It has a good things going for it.

39 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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